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Several injured in India election rally

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NEW DELHI, India (AP) Rival political supporters yesterday clashed with rocks and sticks during an election rally by the Hindu nationalist party in eastern India, leaving several people injured and a university college vandalised.

Police say they used sticks to disperse the rivals as West Bengal state prepared for the seventh and final round of voting for 543 parliamentary seats in India’s national elections on Sunday.

Several motorbikes and bicycles were set on fire, police said.

A big street procession, led by Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah, was greeted with black flags by rivals who chanted “Shah Go Back.” That triggered clashes between the two groups.

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, a lawmaker member of the regional Trinamool Congress, said the BJP supporters also damaged the statue of a state educator, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

Police arrested 100 workers belonging to both parties after the clash, the New Delhi Television news channel reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP is seeking re-election in the national election. Voting will be completed on May 19 and votes counted four days later.

Yesterday, top BJP leaders Nirmala Sitharaman and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi met Election Commission officials in New Delhi and demanded strict security arrangements to prevent violence in the state. They blamed rival Trinamool Congress party workers for violence.

Naqvi accused Mamta Banerjee, the top elected official of the state, with provoking her Trinamool Congress party workers to attack the BJP supporters. Banerjee denied the accusation.

The BJP is trying to improve its tally in West Bengal state, the stronghold of the Trinamool Congress party which controls 34 of 42 parliamentary seats. The BJP won only two parliamentary seats from the state in the 2014 national elections.

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Cop denies knowing reputed gang leader

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CHIEF Justice Bryan Sykes was amazed yesterday by an admission from Corporal Lloyd Knight that he had never heard the name Uchence Wilson or known of the Uchence Wilson gang before appearing in court in connection with the matter.

The detective corporal, who has worked at five different police stations in the St Catherine North Police Division over his 23-year career, was arrested and charged in December 2017 for allegedly being a member of the criminal organisation and for allegedly benefiting from the gang.

Knight also denied knowing any of the alleged members of the gang, except Wilson’s girlfriend Shantol Gordon.

“I did not know of him before this case started,” he said under cross-examination.

See full story at www.jamaicaobserver.com

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Caricom conducting CSME sensitisation meetings in Jamaica

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A delegation from the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat is here for a series of engagements with the various stakeholders including the private sector and the labour movement on the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The CSME allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour, and services across the 15-member regional grouping, and the week-long sensitisation programme is being held in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

A statement issued by the Guyana-based secretariat said the Caricom representatives will today participate in the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 procurement seminar where Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke will address delegates on the Government’s procurement initiative for medium small and micro enterprises.

It said that Gladys Young, officer in charge of the Caricom Secretariat’s CSME Unit, will make a presentation on the ‘Future of Regional Procurement’.

A workshop on ‘Demystifying the CSME Regimes: Seizing the opportunities — addressing the challenges’ will take place on Wednesday at the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI).

The Caricom delegation will also meet with officials from Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association; Media Association of Jamaica; and Press Association of Jamaica.

– CMC

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Let the public be the judge

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Let the public be the judge

Phillips mum on Integrity Commission’s failure to release Andrew Holness’ statutory declaration

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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OPPOSITION Leader Dr Peter Phillips says he is leaving it to members of the public to form their opinions on the failure of the Integrity Commission to publish a summary of the statutory declaration of Prime Minister Andrew Holness for last year.

Under the law the commission is to publish in the Jamaica Gazette the summary of the statutory declarations of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition annually.

Government officials have claimed that the commission sought clarity on an aspect of the declaration provided by Holness and this has already been provided.

But up to late yesterday there was no indication that the commission had published the information.

The commission, on July 12, published information that showed Phillips and his family with total income of $53.8 million, assets of $60.4 million, plus US$61.5 thousand in saving accounts, US$502,000 in securities and US$19.7 thousand in life insurance cash value.

Following a media briefing where he provided further details on a crime summit being planned by the Opposition for July 30, Phillips told the Jamaica Observer that he would not want to get into any extensive discussion on why the Integrity Commission has so far failed to gazette the declaration of the prime minister.

“The expression of concern should be that expressed by the Integrity Commission rather than myself because then it would descend into a matter of political point scoring,” said Phillips.

“The law provides that the Integrity Commission is the watchdog, the protector of the country’s national institutions — our parliament, our civil service, security forces, and the like. It should be the one that discharges that responsibility in a non-partisan fashion which enables it to secure the widest possible support among the general public,” added Phillips.

Earlier Phillips told members of the media that the Opposition was disappointed with the failure of the Holness Administration to convene a meeting with stakeholders to discuss Jamaica’s high murder rate and criminality, as agreed in the Vale Royal Talks some seven months ago.

“Given the fact that Jamaica has had seven states of emergency and a continuing high murder rate, we can wait no longer to convene a meeting of stakeholders as envisaged by the Vale Royal Agreement,” said Phillips.

“We consider it vital to convene the national stakeholders meeting now to agree on a national position so that all stakeholders can embrace the decisions and support their implementation,” added Phillips.

According to Phillips, the crime meeting will be a national effort, non-partisan in tone and content, and one that delivers tangible results.

“We are not about scoring political points,” declared Phillips.

He said the meeting will be convened under the theme, ‘Securing a safer Jamaica’, at the Jamaica Conference Centre and will assemble key stakeholders including the church, the private sector, and academics.

“I should point out that I have extended invitations to the minister of justice (Delroy Chuck), the attorney general (Marlene Malahoo-Forte), the minister of national security (Horace Chang), the Jamaica Labour Party, and we do hope that they will join us in this non-partisan effort to fight crime,” said Phillips.

“The meeting’s objective is to highlight causative factors and identify possible solutions which may include a set of sustainable, actionable, and results-orientated measures which could ultimately bring the dire crime situation under control,” he added.

The Opposition leader said a report of the consultations, with recommendations, will be presented to the Government, “which we hope will be accepted and implemented”.

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